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|Tube Feeding Tips: Dissolving Medications|
Educating Your Pharmacist
When I started tube feeding, my wife crushed all my pills, one at a time, with a mortar and pestle. Gradually, I became well enough to do it myself. I tried pill crushers, but felt the mortar and pestle were better. At an Oley conference, a pharmacist suggested dissolving my pills would be easier than crushing them, although it might take a little longer. I began dissolving my pills and discovered uncoated pills dissolved faster than coated ones. (And, yes, it was easier than crushing them.) I also learned that some pills could be dissolved together, so that I did not have to draw up separate solutions in my syringe and do separate infusions. (Note: Be sure to check with your pharmacist or physician before combining any medications as they may interact and/or clog your tube.)
Prevacid tablets were the toughest. They took a long time to dissolve. I asked my pharmacist if they came in any other form that would dissolve more easily. He gave me another kind, but the label clearly said, “not for enteral use,” so I took them back and asked him to try again. He said there wasn’t anything else.
So I did my own research. I found Prevacid Solutabs — delayed release orally disintegrating tablets. The label says, “...can be delivered via oral syringe.” When I showed the label to my pharmacist, he said he thought they were only used to dissolve on the tongue and then swallowed. Because I cannot swallow, he did not think I could use them.
Because most pharmacists don’t deal on a day-to-day basis with individuals who have feeding tubes and are on enteral nutrition, this became a learning experience for both of us. My research and advocating for myself helped me find the form of Prevacid that was exactly what I needed. My pharmacist learned more about my special needs, as well as about a form of the medication that could be used in a way he hadn’t even considered.
Now, taking my meds is relatively easy. I do it twice a day — first thing after waking up in the morning and last thing at night before I go to bed. In the morning, I use four Nalgene water bottles. I shake, shake, shake the various medications and my coffee, each in their own bottle. (Note: Nalgene water bottles can be found at sporting goods stores, Target and other retailers.)
I think it takes less time to actually do my medications than it took for me to type out this story for you on my laptop. A feeding tube should not get in the way of staying well medicated!